2018 Winter Olympic Games

The introduction of competitive sports and inspiration from the athletes’ life stories, economics and personal finance, geography, physics and civics concepts emerge naturally from media coverage of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Olympic Games are a balancing act of lofty goals and visions, financial investment and advertising dollars, tradition and innovation. The slogan of the 2018 Games in PyeongChang — Passion. Connected. — embodies a vision to expand winter sports participation to a global audience. As Korea stated in its bid to be the 2018 Winter Games host, its “vision for the 2018 Games is to offer the Olympic Movement and the world of winter sports New Horizons — a legacy of new growth and new potential never seen before. … With PyeongChang’s strategic position in Asia, and its access to a young and fast growing youth market, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games will no doubt expose new generations of potential athletes to the power of winter sport.”


PyeongChang also has been called the “Peace Olympics.” North Korea agreed to form a women’s ice hockey team of North and South Korean athletes, to send an official delegation and to share musicians across the DMZ. The sister of North Korea's leader, and a young leader herself, was a member of the North Korean delegation. 

Nearly 3,000 athletes from around the world will gather in PyeongChang, South Korea, and nearby to compete in 102 events — the most in Olympic history. These include four new events: mass start long-track speed skating, mixed doubles curling, men’s and women’s big air, mixed team Alpine skiing. NBC paid $4.38 billion for broadcast rights for 2014-2020. The 14-hour time difference will put some morning events, such as figure skating and skiing, in the U.S. prime-time the night before.


The International Olympic Committee, a not-for-profit independent international organization, is made up of volunteers and remains committed to building a better world through sport. From the first bid to be a host country to the torch relay to the Opening Ceremony to the Winter Games’ last event, volunteers form a South Korean welcome committee, present at Mountain and Coastal Venues, the Olympic Village and where tourists may need assistance. We provide resources to learn about the 15 official sports and the athletes who have trained, many at significant personal cost.


Within this month’s guide, we suggest approaches to using The Post in your classrooms, but can include only a small portion of The Post’s athlete, sport and culture coverage. Get The Post’s Olympic updates, the broadcast schedule and new coverage of athletes in the PyeongChang Olympics, February 9-25, and Paralympics, March 9-18.        


February 2018 

Olympic Games Coverage
Resource Graphic 

Read a Map
Geography, U.S. History

Maps of the Korean peninsula, South Korea and Olympic venues are provided. The Korean peninsula map may be used to discuss the current global political situation, the relation of the two Koreas, and the geographic proximity of other countries. Which map provides topographic information?

If teachers incorporate viewing of the Olympic Winter Games into their class homework, students may be asked to locate home countries and countries where competitive athletes train.


Research Olympic Winter Sports
English, Geography, Physical Education, Science

For fun, teachers might share two Washington Post features before giving the assignment:
• An illustrated quiz: “The speediest Winter Olympic sports
• A video: “Luge Yourself

Fifteen sports compose the official winter sports. Ask students to list the sports that they think are Winter Games sports. Give students “Olympic Games Winter Sports” to direct research of each sport. This activity may be done as an individual, pair or team event. In addition to the history, description, categories in the Games and countries that have excelled (which may be combined with map reading), students are asked to add two more areas of research. This may be standout athletes, rules, application of science to the sport, limits and/or expenses of the sport because of physical requirements (modifications of environment, construction of courses, equipment) or an area of personal interest.


This activity might be combined with an oral presentation. Teachers may decide if visual aids such as maps and photographs, PowerPoint or other presentation approaches should be included.


Where Do You Learn the Sport?
Business, Civics, Economics, Physical Education

The Washington Post Sports reporters have created a series of How-to-Watch sports at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang articles. These may be combined with the “Olympic Games Winter Sports” research or used alone with pairs reading, selecting details, factoids and points of interest (like Redskin Vernon Davis was honorary captain or the men’s curling team during the 2010 Vancouver Games) to share with the class.


The How-to-Watch sports include biathlon, bobsledding, cross-country skiingcurling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, Alpine skiing, hockey, luge (with video), Nordic combined, short-track speedskating, and skeleton.

Have students locate where Olympic sports may be learned and athletes may train in your town or nearby. Students can learn about curling and the Maryland Curling Club in Kelyn Soong’s article, “American curlers have heard your jokes about the sport. Their response: Try it.” If students could open a sports club and training center, what sport(s) would they want?


Select Your 5Ws and H
Economics, Geography, Journalism, U.S. History

Many topics for news stories are provided in “Find Your 2018 Olympic News Story.” Many of the topics tie to reprints found in Through Sports a Better World and in Volunteers, Values and adVentures as well the online lesson links. There are several ways teachers may use this resource:

• Have students select one topic to read about and research. Write a short article to inform others.

• Pairs or a small group may select a topic from each of the five categories. Several naturally overlap and will produce a strong synthesis. Oral presentation, PowerPoint or a new article could be assigned.

• Students could group to create a news series that is organized to unfold aspects of the selected topic.

History of the Winter Olympic Games
Resource Graphic 

Meet Olympic Athletes
English, Career Education, Civics, Physical Education

 KidsPost provides a slideshow to give an overview: “Here are the athletes to watch out for in the 2018 Olympics” These may be shown to introduce this project.


There are a variety of approaches a teacher may take with these Washington Post Sports articles. Students may work individually, in pairs and as a team.
• Read articles about assigned athletes. Prepare a summary and present to the class.
• Read about, interview or follow on social media local Olympians. In addition to those indicated below with *, Maryland and Virginia 2018 Olympians are Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Ashley Caldwell, John Daly, Elana Meyers Taylor and Haley Skarupa. After the Olympics, invite one for a press conference/interview with your student media.
• Prepare a viewing guide with a brief summary of the athlete and when to view the particular sport.
• Group the articles by sport, read and discuss what is learned about the sport through the individuals who compete in them.
• Read and discuss the lede paragraphs of five articles. Compare and contrast how successful each is in introducing the athlete, setting up the focus and grabbing the reader’s interest. Give students "Get Off to the Right Lede." You may use ledes in "Sky, Snow and Ice" and "Talent, Politics, Education" to train students.
• Select one of the ledes to model the beginning of a profile about a student athlete in your school.
• Discuss the kinds of information (the athlete, the private person, the child, records, challenges) that is provided by the reporter. How do these build to give you a better sense of the person who has achieved Olympic dreams by making the USA team.

Maame Biney — USA, short track skating*
Nathan Chen — USA, figure skating
Matt and Becca Hamilton — USA, curling, siblings
Yuzuru Hanyu — Japan, defending men’s champion, figure skating
Thomas Hong — USA, short-track speedskating*
Gus Kenworth  — USA, first openly gay Olympic skier
Chris Kinney — USA, bobsled*
Chloe Kim — USA, snowboarding
Ted Ligety — USA, skiing, fourth Olympic
Julia Marino, USA, snowboarding
Maddie Mastro — USA, snowboarding
Mirai Nagasu — USA, figure skating
Adam Rippon — USA, figure skating
Garrett Roe — USA, ice hockey*
Mikaela Shiffrin — USA, shalom
Bradie Tennell — USA, figure skating
Lindsey Vonn, USA, skiing
Shaun White — USA, snowboarding


Conduct an Interview
English, Journalism, Physical Education

A surprising number of people in a community have ties to athletic involvement from their high school days to current work or leisure. Brainstorm a series of nine categories, sports or concepts that your class could pursue for publication. These would include:
• Graduates, staff or coaches who competed on the state, national or international level;
• Graduates or current students who have gone through trials to qualify for regionals or higher competition;
• Parents or residents of your town who had Olympic dreams or who coached a future Olympian;
• Local venues for students to participate in the sports featured in the Olympics or Paralympics


How Do Athletes Support Their Quest?
Business, Personal Finance, Physical Education, Reading

Give students “The Sky’s the Limit” to use as a case study of an athlete with a dream, the years of training and the expenses she and her family faced. Identify what snowboarder Chloe Kim and her family did to support her Olympic dream.


Discuss who and what your community does to encourage young people to be involved in sports, to help those who show promise and to support those who have reached the highest levels of competition. How do these resources benefit your community, the student athlete and his or her parents?


Who Profits from the Games?
Business, Economics, Journalism, Physical Education

A host country is gambling on success during and after hosting the Games in order to break even or make a profit. A recent study of Games since 1960 found the most expensive Summer Games to be London 2012 (15.0 USD billion) and Barcelona 1992 (9.7 USD billion) and the most expensive Winter Games to be Sochi 2014 (21.9 USD billion) and Torino 2006 (4.4 USD billion). Transportation infrastructure is not included in the costs. Why would a country want to host the Olympic Games?

The host country. What factors determine if the host country gains or loses financially? Which does the best financially — Summer Olympic Games or Winter Olympic Games? How many countries have used Olympic facilities after the Games for continued local use? [For example, Lake Placid used the athletes’ village as a prison.] For hosting other sports events and to offer training facilities? As an international destination?

Businesses. Who gets the profit from sale of Olympic-related merchandise such as the mascots and torches? Which local business will profit?

Prestige for individual and country? What countries have benefitted by having the most medalists? Explain how this has happened.

Financial benefits for the individual athlete? Which contemporary athletes benefitted by Olympic success, especially if they were not on a professional sports team? Do any countries pay their athletes for being a gold, silver or bronze medalist? To whom would a medalist sell his or her medal if times are tough? What is the gold content of a gold medal? What about the auction block?

Games sponsors. What are the benefits to the corporations that are Olympic Games sponsors? Who are they? How do they make themselves known? Which can benefit by selling Olympic-related merchandise? 


On Your Mark
Business, Economics, Mathematics, Physical Education

According to early reports, the Olympic venues cost South Korea more than $1 billion to construct or refurbish. Others report that athletes may spend from $35,000 to $50,000 on their way to achieving Olympic proficiency. Many topics involve the business or economic side of sports. Give students "On Your Mark." Students in pairs or small team may select one of the teasers to explore. 


Keep Athletes Safe and Well
Character Education, Civics, Journalism, Physical Education

Read the full statement of the Safe Sport initiative that is employed for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. All participating athletes are informed how to report “any incident of harassment or abuse,” what constitutes harassment and abuse, and where the IOC Safeguarding offices are located.


In November 2017 a Safeguarding toolkit was released to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) to assist in “the development of policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport. Show the introductory video to students to introduce the concept. Discuss and define “harassment” and “abuse” as well as having a need for policies and procedures to report actions. Why are these policies needed? Who should be included under the policy?


Teachers should review the tookit to determine if this may act as a guideline for your school district, school’s athletic department and/or team leaders to develop a harassment and abuse policy. If such a policy exists, perhaps you might review it against these guidelines.


Students might also be divided into three groups to read, discuss and determine steps to follow in creating a school policy for your teams.
Core Components

Read About Olympic Athletes

Listen to the Music
Art, Journalism, Music, Physical Education


• The Opening Ceremony showcases the culture of the host country. Listen to the music that accompanies the dance. What attitude or sense of culture do the movements and beat convey? What does national dress (color, fabric, adornment) add to the expression?
• During the Closing Ceremony how does the next Olympic Games host country convey its invitation? It what ways are past and present cultures conveyed?
• What music and dance would you use to convey the culture of your community? Of your school? 



• National anthems of gold medalists are played at the medal ceremonies. The anthems of which three countries are most likely to be heard based on Olympic history? Describe the anthems.
• What music will be played should the Korean women’s ice hockey team win a medal? How does this decision reflect the spirit of the Olympics as well as political reality?
• At the DMZ music plays loudly from the North Korean side. Why is this done?



• If teachers have students who are involved in dance ask them to share how the music influences their choreography. Since 2014 Sochi Olympics, single ice skaters may perform to music with lyrics.

Read and discuss Liz Clarke’s “Will the addition of lyrics have Olympic figure skating judges singing along?” 


The class might debate whether lyrics add to the skater’s performance or if it appeals more to audiences. Teachers might begin with respected veteran coach Frank Carroll’s belief that “music should be in service to the skater and not the other way around.” Teachers might also ask students to select the music they would like to see used in a short or long program by single or pairs.


Call the Tech-Sci Crew
Business, Economics, Journalism, Science, Technology

The Games Opening Ceremony highlighted the contrast of traditional Korean culture to the fast-moving, tech-friendly Seoul and South Korea. Before drones shaped the Olympic rings, companies and athletes were developing and utilizing science and technology. Read and discuss the KidsPost article: “In the Olympics, what athletes wear is often more about science than style” and Post reprint: “Virtual reality helps U.S. Olympic ski team prepare for PyeongChang’s great unknown.” How might the current technology be used in the next Summer Olympics?


Have students brainstorm what advances in technology they would like to see in your school and their homes. Which would be beneficial and help meet needs? Which are purely for entertainment and convenience? 


Find the Physics in a Bobsled
Physics, Science

Physics educator Michael Van Eaton provides “Physics — The Winning Edge” to introduce how bobsled teams utilize physics laws and principles. He also suggests three labs to apply the physics. Teachers could review terms in In the Know that appear in the article.


Before giving students the article, physics teachers may share the NPR piece “A Kind of Chaos: The Science and Sports of Bobsledding.” Melissa Block goes to Lake Placid, N.Y., where World Cup competition is taking place. Bobsledders give an inside look into the sport. Elana Meyers Taylor, a GW grad, is among the interviewees. All students will enjoy hearing what it is like to be in the bobsled.


Meet Ambassadors of Sport
Character Education, Civics, Physical Education

A Refugee Olympic team of ten athletes first competed in the Rio 2016 Summer Games. The athletes’ participation was “an important signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and an enrichment to society,” according to the IOC. The athletes continued as ambassadors for the value of sports.


After discussing the Refugee Olympic team, consider these additional questions:
• Why is no team of refugees slated to compete in the Winter Games?
• If you could create the team, who would you want on your team of Ambassadors of Sport from the 2018 Winter Games?
• Are there athletes in your school who would make good ambassadors of sport? What criteria should they meet?


Demand Attention
Character Education, Civics, Debate, Government

Sports Injury
Concussions are serious, but would you let one ruin your Olympic dream?

Integrity of Coaches
Some Olympic sports organizations keep lists of banned coaches confidential

Oversight of Gymnastics Clubs
Following sex abuse report, USA Gymnastics pledges stronger oversight of clubs


Consider Conflicts
Government, U.S. History

U.S. History and U.S. Government teachers may wish to use the Olympic Games as the context in which to introduce the Korean War to students. Read Barry Svrluga’s “Ahead of ‘Peace Olympics,’ a different reality at the DMZ.” This would include discussion of

• the DMZ — guards, defectors, tours and restaurants

• today’s tensions between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and the White House

• North Korean missile testing (review map and nearby countries)

• nuclear program development in North Korea

• human rights issues

“We will use sports as a tool for peace,” said Lee Hee-beom, CEO of the PyeongChang Games. How can this be achieved, if only for a few days? What stands in the way of this ideal?


And Discuss More Controversy
Character Education, Civics, Environmental Education, Physical Education

Figure skating debate rages between artistry, amplitude

IOC confirms 169 Russian athletes invited to Winter Olympics

Long way from PyeongChang, NHL all-stars lament sitting out

Olympic organisers destroy ‘sacred’ South Korean forest to create ski run

Environmental groups raised concerns about deforestation of the slopes of Gariwang Mountain to build the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. Officials claimed it was the only slope that could accommodate Olympic requirements and the forest would be restored after the Games. The forest includes old growth of ancient and rare species; if destroyed how could it be replaced? As one of very few virgin forests in South Korea, the area is home to protected species such as the flying squirrel and the lynx, as well as endangered species of plants and birds.



Post NIE Guide Editor | Carol Lange
Post NIE Guide Art Editor | Carol Porter

Resource Graphic 
In The Know 

Acceleration Measurement of the change in an object’s velocity. It is equal to the change in velocity over the change in time. Acceleration is a vector.

Having a shape which reduces the drag from air moving past



Total score of a player or team in a fixture comprising more than one game or round


A transverse slope given to a road, railway or sports track to enable vehicles or runners to maintain speed round a curve by using its own mass to stay on the surface instead of depending on friction. 

Centripetal force

The force required to pull an object out of its natural straight-line path and into a circular path; centripetal means


A force acting opposite to the relative motion of any object moving with respect to a surrounding fluid, such as air; impede progress or development; the opposite of thrust

Friction  The force that resists the motion of one surface relative to another with which it is in contact. 
Gravitational force The weakest of the four fundamental forces of nature, being the attractive force that arises from gravitational interaction. Newton's law of gravity states that the gravitational force between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Gravity Force by which a planet or other body draws objects toward its center

International Olympic Committee:  a not-for-profit independent international organization, is made up of volunteers and remains committed to building a better world through sport. Winter and Summer Olympic Games are one aspect of their activities.   


Make less severe, painful or serious


Considered to be a measure of the quantity of motion in a body. The momentum of a body is defined as the product of its mass and velocity. Its SI units are kg m /s.

Newton's Second Law of Motion

Acceleration is directly proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the object’s mass. 

Non-conservative force

Any force that does not store energy.  The energy from the force is removed from the system and is no longer available to the system for kinetic energy

Physics The study of matter and its motion and behavior through space and time
Velocity  Rate of change in an object’s position; the magnitude of velocity is the object’s speed

Sources: Glossary of PhysicsOxford Dictionary

District of Columbia Public Schools Academic Content Standards 

World Geography and Cultures. Students use maps, globes, atlases and other technologies to acquire and process information about people, places and environments. (The World in Spatial Terms, 6.1)


World Geography and Cultures. Students identify and explain the process of conflict and cooperation (political, economic, religious, etc.) among people in the contemporary world at local, national, regional, and international scales. (Geographic Skills, 8)


World Geography and Cultures. Students use geographic knowledge and skills to analyze historical and contemporary issues. (Geographic Skills, 11)


Physical Education. The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance. (Standard 1)


Physical Education. The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge self-expression and/or social interaction. (Standard 5)


Academic Content Standards may be found at http://osse.dc.gov/service/dc-educational-standards.

Maryland Academic Content Standards 

Health. Evaluate fundamental movement skills in a variety of physical education activities. (Standard 1.0 Skillfulness, grade 8)


Government. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the history, diversity, and commonality of the peoples of the nation and world, the reality of human interdependence, and the need for global cooperation, through a perspective that is both historical and multicultural. (Goal 2, Peoples of the Nation and World)


Economics. The student will utilize the principles of economic costs and benefits and opportunity cost to analyze the effectiveness of government policy in achieving socio-economic goals.


The Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Content Standards can be found online at http://mdk12.org/assessments/standards/9-12.html 

Virginia Academic Content Standards 

World Geography. The student will use maps, globes, satellite images, photographs, or diagrams to
a)   obtain geographical information about the world’s countries, cities, and environments (WG.1)

World Geography. The student will analyze how the forces of conflict and cooperation affect the division and control of the Earth’s surface by
a)   explaining and analyzing reasons for the creation of different political divisions;
b)   analyzing ways cooperation among political jurisdictions is used to solve problems and settle disputes. (WG.10)

World History. Era VIII: The Post War Period, 1945 to the Present. The student will demonstrate knowledge of major events in the second half of the twentieth century by
b)   assessing the impact of nuclear weaponry on patterns of conflict and cooperation since 1945 (WHII.13)

Civics and Economics. The student will demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life by
a)   practicing trustworthiness and honesty;
b)   practicing courtesy and respect for the rights of others;
c)   practicing responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance;
d)   practicing respect for the law;
e)   practicing patriotism (CE.4)


Academic Content Standards may be found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/index.shtml.

Common Core Standards 

English Language Arts Standards/Reading: Informational Text. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12. 6)


English Language Arts Standards/Reading: Informational Text. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12. 5)



Common Core standards may be found at www.corestandards.org.